BSNL threatens to scale back rural WiMAX project

6 Oct 2010

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has reportedly threatened to drastically scale back the government’s project to extend WiMAX services to rural regions if more funds are not made available to it. According to the Hindu Business Line, BSNL has informed the state that it should be given additional funding totalling INR23.95 billion (USD537 million) for the programme, failing which it will reduce the number of WiMAX base stations it will construct from 7,863 to 1,798. It is understood that the PTO has claimed that additional monies are required as result of the higher-than-expected price it has to pay for its wireless broadband spectrum; BSNL is required to match the highest bid received in the June 2010 auction, meaning the cash-strapped telco must find INR83.14 billion in total for the BWA spectrum it has been allocated. ‘Based on revised spectrum cost, a revised business case was forwarded to the Department of Information Technology (DIT) requesting an additional grant of INR2.395 [for the] WiMAX rural project to enable BSNL to at least realise the expenditure on the project at no profit-no loss basis,’ the telco noted in a letter to the DIT.